April 27, 2010

What she did last week

We used the long weekend to get the kitchen into shape, finishing the painting and finally putting all the pots and crockery and food away, after living with it all dumped in green shopping bags dotted around the house for the past few weeks. We still need to finish the finer details and do something about the floor, but for the first time since restumping started we have a proper kitchen again. Yay! 
In between painting and polishing and scrubbing things down with toothbrushes, I:
  • got up in the dark for the Anzac Day dawn service at Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance. Being a history nerd with a special interest in World War 1*, Mr F had been to many dawn services in Sydney in the past, but it was his first in Melbourne and a complete first for me.
  • watched Anvil! The story of Anvil and had to keep re-reading the back of the DVD to convince ourselves it wasn’t a mockumentary. If it was fiction, I think we would have been able to enjoy it more, but knowing that these poor guys actually went through the cancelled gigs, tiny audiences and record company rejections was a bit heartbreaking
  • read The Boyfriend List by E Lockhart (faboo, I can’t wait to get started on the Boy Book, which is also in my to-read pile)
  • started reading Surfache by Gerry Bobsien, which is making me think about taking up both surfing and ballet**
  • booked a trip to Sydney for late May – my first proper*** visit to my hometown since Christmas 2008!
  • began knitting little gifties to take on aforementioned trip.
Speaking of knitted goodies, today is the first time it’s been cold enough to break out the airy pink legwarmers and I must say they’re working a treat. I momentarily considered taking a photo as evidence of their a) pinkness and b) lairiness, but one adjective that definitely can’t be used to describe them is ‘flattering’. Every time I walk into the room, Big Orange Cat looks at them with a slightly alarmed expression, as if trying to decide whether they are friend or foe.

* as evidenced by the fact that a third of our last trip to Europe was spent visiting the battlefields and war cemeteries of northern France. Yes, really.
** a bit like when the gymnastics is on TV and I watch those tiny, weightless girls flipping all over the place and think, “That looks like fun, maybe I’ll give it a go”, and about as likely to happen, but still, surfing and dancing vicariously, yay!
*** read: longer than 1 day

April 21, 2010

YA Community Thanksgiving

YA Community Thanksgiving is another great idea* from Adele at Persnickety Snark. Although I don't consider myself a YA blogger because I don't review YA books beyond saying what I'm reading, I am incredibly thankful to the YA blogging community that does.**

The photo below is of the current haul on my bedside, mostly courtesy of the Amazon gift voucher my very (very!) generous ex-colleagues gave me. As far as I know, most of these books haven't been published in Australia yet (one of my criteria for buying them from Amazon rather than a local independent bookstore*** - support your LIB!), so all I had to go on when I was choosing (and yes, it took HOURS) was blog reviews. For the reviews that helped me narrow my selection, my special thanks go to:
Thanks YA community!

* see also: vicarious paper cranes and Top 100 YA Novels
** of course, the YA community does much more than just review books, but in the interests of minimising today's already excessive blog procrastination time, I'm sticking to just giving thanks for one of the things I love about it
*** at this point, I feel compelled to mention that I did indeed purchase Surf Ache at my LIB

April 20, 2010

Writing, renovating, reading

Ack, no blogging for a week even though there are eleventy things on my to-blog list, but the no-interwebs-before-lunch ban is definitely helping Book 2. It seems I really am a morning person, after all!

Of course, the downside of being productive offline is that there's not much oomph left by the time I get online in the afternoon, but I remind myself that it's only a temporary measure...

Inbetween sanding and painting the kitchen (which really is a tiny space for the amount of work/time/trips to Bunnings it's taking), last week I managed to:
  • go to the Wheeler Centre for one of their Debut Mondays events - an excellent (free!) opportunity to hear first-time authors read from their books and then stalk-I mean, chat with them
  • read Loving Richard Feynman by Penny Tangey*, which was brilliant and well-deserving of its Children's Book Council of Australia book of the year nomination
  • finish knitting the second lairy leg warmer (which of course was the weather's cue to bring a heatwave, so it's too hot to even put them on for a photo)
  • see Ross Noble's Melbourne Comedy festival show.
No wonder I'm knackered!

*In the interests of full disclosure, Penny and I share an agent and we've met a few times and I think she's an all-round ace chick. (But I don't think any of that coloured my enjoyment of LRF - it's a seriously excellent book!)

April 12, 2010

What she's done lately

For the past couple of weeks blogging time has been replaced by stripping paint time, writing time and working time, but in honour of this morning's procrastination time, lately I've:
  • been following fellow Doggies (that's the Western Bulldogs AFL team, for non-Victorians - our local team) fan Kate Constable's concise and enlightening guide to How to tell the Bulldogs apart. Having officially been a Bulldogs fan since we moved west, I was a bit embarassed that the only player I could pick onscreen was Ackers (and if he ever stops dyeing his hair I'll be hard pushed there), Kate's guide came just in time for the 2010 season.
  • seen Micmacs at the fabulous Sun Theatre (they have chairs as big and deep as sofas, and I can stretch my legs all the way in front of me without touching the next row - heaven!). I quite liked it, except for the slightly treacly ending, but Mr Fantapants (who's a big fan of the director) was a bit disappointed.
  • been on nightly slug and snail patrol with Mr F to try to save our peas. lettuces and cabbage (singular - we can't afford to lose it!). I have a gastropod phobia that borders on pathological, so I'm in charge of holding the torch and spotting the blighters and then the brave Mr F takes over, armed only with a small trowel and a strong stomach. Our record so far has been 104 in a single night (unfortunately also the night before we started putting them in the bin in a sealed plastic bag, so the bin was full of them and they were all hell bent on escaping - the stuff of an molluscophobic's nightmares!).
  • banned myself from getting online before lunchtime because it's a time sucker and I' should be writing/stripping paint/working. Except this morning when I really needed to check on one small fact that's comepletely relevant and vital to what I'm writing. And then I thought I may as well check my email. And scan my blog feed reader for anything that may be of help with the writing. And write a blog post because it's been so long. Must. Unplug. Modem. Now!

April 1, 2010

Eleven years ago today...

Eleven years ago today, Mr Fantapants and I journeyed to an Animal Welfare League foster home hoping to meet the cat of our dreams. Instead we adopted the Big Orange Cat.*

I'd called the AWL with a vague request for a kitten, perhaps of the ginger persuasion (because Mr F had always had gingers and my first cat, Yellowish, was also a ginge, not so that Mr F and the cat should shed the same colour hair all over the house). The nice lady on the phone told me that there was a kitten that met our prerequisites coming up for adoption that weekend. When we met the then Small Ginger Cat, he was 8 weeks old and had been at the foster home (i.e. away from his mum) for all of a couple of hours. He and one of his brothers were huddled together in a cat carrier, looking as miserable as two very young kittens taken away from their mum could. He looked deceptively sweet.

When I first held him he wouldn't stop mewing, and not in a cute I'm-so-small-and-helpless-and-I-need-you-to-take-care-of-me way, in an I'm-a-whinger way. Just as I was about to declare that he hated me and move on to greener kittens, I mean pastures, he started purring. Loudly. And making bread with his little ginger paws on my woolly jumper.** And nuzzling me with his little ginger face. And I fell in love.

Eleven years on, we are scarred (both literally and emotionally), we have dealt with more abcesses, fleas and blocked anal glands*** than I care to remember, and spent more hours worrying about his whereabouts than we should, but the sight of his ageing ginger chops leaning over me in the morning to demand breakfast still makes me smile.

Happy birthday Big Orange Cat.

* Just kidding, obv.
** Which turned out not to be because he'd fallen deeply in love with me and wanted me to be his new mum, but because he has a 'thing' for wool. He has a crusty old 'security cardigan' that he still does this to.
*** Oh yes, it happens to cats too. And when it does you have to take them to the vet and get special ointment, not just apply undiluted tea tree oil to the affected area (unless you want to see your cat leap 2 metres vertically in shock, in which case, the tea tree will do the trick, but you'll still have to go to the vet for ointment and your cat won't talk to you until you've fed him copious amounts of prawns).